Joseph Samuel Archibald was born in St. Kitts & Nevis. He obtained his primary and secondary education at the Basseterre Boys’ Primary School and on scholarship at the St. Kitts & Nevis Grammar School respectively. Mr. Archibald was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn, London, on 12 July 1960. He is the holder of the Inns of Court Special Certificate in Public International Law, London (1960). In 2005, he was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) of the University of the West Indies.
During his exceptional career as a Caribbean jurist, Commissioner Joseph Archibald has been a private law practitioner and trial lawyer (1968-2005) in the Eastern Caribbean from Chambers in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) with practice at all Court levels in the Caribbean up to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England. He has also been: Senior Crown Counsel; Magistrate; High Court Registrar; Director of Prosecutions; Attorney General of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla (on two occasions: 1960-4 and 1966-8); Member of Executive and Legislative Councils and Administrator’s Deputy on two occasions administering the Government of the British Virgin Islands in the absence of the UK appointed Administrator. Commissioner Archibald acted as a Judge of the Supreme Court of the West Indies Associated States (1978) assigned to Dominica; subsequent to this, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1980. Most recently, Commissioner Archibald has acted as a Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) assigned to St. Lucia (1998) and served as a Justice of Appeal of the ECSC (2001, 2002 and 2004).
Commissioner Archibald’s accomplishments as a Caribbean legal luminary have also won him appointment or election, among others, as: Chairman of Legislative Council Committees for Constitutional Reform in the British Virgin Islands (1964-1965); Principal Legal Adviser to the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas 1978-2005; Chairman of the Detention Review Tribunal of the Commonwealth of Dominica on the emergency detention of an ex Prime Minister, the Commanding Officer and other officers and soldiers of the Dominican Defence Force (1981); President of the BVI Bar Association (1986-1994); Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the 13th World Law Conference in Seoul, South Korea (1987); Founding President of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Bar Association (the OECS Bar), re-elected 1993 to 1996, and Chairman of its Ethics and Discipline Committee; Chairman of the newly created Disciplinary Committee of the St. Kitts & Nevis Bar Association (1993-2002); principal public advocate for the creation of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the British Virgin Islands (1991-1993); Chairman of the BVI Bar Committee to explore the possibility of establishing a BVI Commercial Court with High Court Jurisdiction (1996-2005); Chairman of the Civil Justice Task Force relating to the working and implementation of the new Civil Procedure Rules 2000 of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (2001-present).